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ProMAX SystemsJul 8, 2019 7:56:58 AM6 min read

From Lens to Archive: Management with NewTek’s NDI pt.2

Miss part 1?

Part 1

Let's talk about media management fundamentals and some best practices.

As we fold these NDI streams into a shared storage systems or local drives, what can we really do? We can start thinking about a lot of media management fundamentals. Honestly, I know that everybody says that this type of brainstorming should happen but I don't believe I see it happening in most NDI environments. Why is that? Because we're still living in the SDI world, whether everything is separated.

These fundamentals now happen in post-production environments because those are all connected in the LAN and are all part of the fold. But now we are bringing those NDI feeds into our folds. So we can start thinking about capturing live feeds. We can start thinking about such fundamentals as whether or not we should replicate this data.

  • How are we tagging and organizing this data?
  • Are we using asset management?
  • Do we have a FileMaker Pro database?
  • What does all this look like and how are we backing this up?
  • How are we archiving this?

There are a lot of things that we should be thinking about at this point.

Critical Questions

Let's look now at those two questions that I referred to in the outline of this talk. These are really good questions to talk through with your team.

If there's an important takeaway today, this is it. Write down the two questions, in italics below. When you return to work, talk about these questions with your coworkers. If nothing else, your team is going to feel better knowing that you have at least talked about doing these things the right way.

The first question: If you want to use this show or any of its footage later, how do you find it? This is a very important question to be talking about.

If the answer is "No, we don't want to use this stuff later—none of the show feed. We don't have to worry about this stuff." But what if the answer is, "Yes, we do want to have that data on hand." If that's so, then your group has to decide how to manage that data short-term, mid-term, and long-term.

Second question: Is this show or footage mission critical for your company?

What do I mean by that? Well, you're sending out a live feed, maybe it's a livestream or YouTube or whatever.

  • After that live feed is out there, does it matter if you lose all of that program, that footage, or that video file?
  • Does it matter if you lose that file in a week?
  • Does it you matter if you lose it in two years?

Those may seem similar events but there are subtle differences in how you track those various files. Short is always easier and longer is always a lot harder. But what happens if that show is lost immediately after broadcast? How do you track your data so you know your data is backed up? How are you replicating it? There are options for all these situations.

As you talk about these two questions internally, if the answer to either of these questions is yes, you know that most people save the data on a hard drive and stick it on a shelf. Then when the hunt starts, someone may say, "I know that I used it and labeled it January." But if either of these is yes and you're putting drives on a shelf, you're probably setting yourself up for a problem later. Even worse, people always assume they know what to do and are taking care of it. But a year later, someone tells you, "Oh, we need that interview from the CEO." You reply, "It's on a drive labeled CEO. Do you know where it is?" No one has a clue. These questions do reveal the weaknesses in the system and raise questions about how you are using the technologies that are available to you.

In light of the scenarios above, what's going to change with NDI? Nothing. You have the same two problems you had before NDI. The two big problems are always time and money. You don't have the time and your organization doesn't want to spend the money. That's really how it boils down. There are a lot of great applications to fix the problem but the money aspect isn't going to change.

There are some tips I can give you. One would be to try Carbon Copy Cloner, a bootable backup that will save your hard drive if you are using a Mac. Carbon Copy used to free but now you'll have to pay. But the price is fairly reasonable.

While the money aspect doesn't change, the time aspect does. You discover this right after you hook up a NewTek device and broadcast-specific hardware, and see this bringing your livestream into the fold and into your LAN, which already exists. You can now automate many items on your to-do list. As you start capturing feeds, you can start using automated metadata tagging, automatic backing up, and other automated features.

Let's go back to the second question: Is this show or footage mission-critical? If your task is mission critical, this sets up a conversation about storage.

Safe Storage

There are three things you should think about as you consider mission-critical data and the technologies needed to protect it.

  • RAID protection
  • Scheduled backup
  • Replication/failover

These solutions get more fancy and complex as technologies advance. But for these first two—RAID protection and scheduled backup. There are very simple and inexpensive ways to accomplish this.

Let's talk about RAID storage first. What does NDI do here? It allows us to capture directly into RAID storage. There are a couple of companies that do this. If you go with ProMAX, you get direct-to-network RAID storage. In fact, we just announced our new NDI ingest program.

But Archion Technologies has had their connection to RAID storage for about a year. I found out that they just install NewTek's IsoCorder Pro on their storage system. This is an application you should know about. If you don't have ProMAX storage, you are going to be using IsoCorder Pro to capture those feeds from NDI and NewTek devices. AlAl you need is any Windows workstation and a locally attached RAID or some kind of network-attached storage. If you have a Quantum, Avid, Nexus, or anything like that and a workstation, you can put IsoCorderPro on that workstation. There is a free version of IsoCorder that can capture two NDI streams or a pay-to-play version that can capture up to 16 NDI streams of video. That's a lot of streams. But again, IP-based workflows are going to change how we think about productions.

See the Benefits of Direct NDI Capture

ProMAX NDI Capture from ProMAX Systems on Vimeo.

I began my career as an audio engineer just as ProTools was really, really taking off. I do my recording sessions at home now using about 40 tracks. That's ridiculous. Back 20 years ago, if you were laying down 24 tracks, you were paying $200 an hour for a studio. Because the equipment has changed, I've changed how I record.

NDI workflows are doing the same for video. We're just at the start of that wave. The concept of having 16 cameras producing 16 streams isn't going to be all that foreign to us in the near future. The concept of having two NewTek's that are doing separate cuts for different teams that are playing isn't all that far fetched. I mean, high schools could do that now. This application works on Windows right now and you can capture directly onto a workstation. Use this setup and you'll instantly capture your video in your RAID storage.

Want to learn more about NDI? Check out the last article in the series!

Part 3